Alaska Cuts Mileage Earning Rates On Qantas

Filed Under: Alaska, Alaska Mileage Plan

Alaska Mileage Plan is one of my all around favorite frequent flyer programs, though unfortunately it looks like mileage earning has been cut on yet another partner airline (perhaps due to no fault of Alaska).

Alaska Cuts Mileage Earning On Qantas

Alaska Mileage Plan is cutting mileage earning on Qantas for travel as of January 1, 2020. It doesn’t matter when you book, but rather the new mileage earning rates are based on when you travel.

Here’s what the new mileage earning rates look like for travel as of January 1, 2020:

Meanwhile here’s what mileage earning rates currently look like:

As you can see, mileage earning rates in first, business, and premium economy stay the same. Meanwhile mileage earning rates in economy are being cut significantly:

  • H, B, and Y fares continue to earn 100% miles
  • G, K, L, M, S, and V fares go from earning 100% miles to earning 50% miles
  • N, O, and Q fares go from earning 100% miles to earning 25% miles

So this is bad news for those who flew Qantas economy but credited flights to Alaska.

The good news is that nothing else is changing about this partnership for now:

You can continue to redeem Alaska miles for Qantas business class

Why Is Mileage Earning Being Reduced?

While no official reason has been given, my guess is that this is related to the new joint venture between American and Qantas, which sees those two airlines strengthening ties. Just a few weeks ago it was announced that American is improving mileage earning rates on Qantas.

With American and Qantas working more closely together, it’s not surprising to see Qantas get a bit of separation from Alaska, especially as Alaska and American also recently announced that they’re scaling back their partnership.

We’ve seen Alaska lose several partner airlines in the past few years

Bottom Line

It’s a shame to see mileage earning rates cut on yet another of Alaska’s airline partners. I love how Alaska has a unique array of airline partners, and I genuinely think they try their best. Unfortunately it’s likely that they’re often pressured into cutting ties or reducing partnerships, as other airlines work more closely together.

We’ve seen this happened repeatedly with Delta, as they’ve invested in other airlines and have formed joint ventures with them, leading to those airlines cutting ties with Alaska.

  1. Alaska as good an airline as it is is falling apart with Mileage Plan
    It has no partners left in the US after American goes and their frequently changing
    60k one way for 1 hour flights on their own metal in first class
    When u can fly international business for that
    In economy they charge many elites seat assignments for so called premium seating
    which negates the free change fees if you buy seat assignments to some degree
    Other than fair priced international partner award which are scarce as they don’t get as many seats as the Alliance partners do Alaska imo is in big trouble and losing steam fast to all the other majors
    It needs to reward big as they overprice their own award seats with some rare exceptions
    I’m not sure I can remain their customer going forward as they are making less sense sadly as much as I like them otherwise
    I see them in trouble compared to the major larger carriers as they have much fewer options for flights on their metal and now no Delta or American to fall back on for inventory
    Partner with Spirit? lol

  2. UGH! I booked SIN-LAX QF Y last September. Of course, i would never buy this ticket if it’s only 25%. I am checking to see if QF can cancel my ticket since it is not my fault, or at least, Alaska should honor old earning rates for tickets booked before today since it’s pretty short notification by AS.. Bad customer service move but nothing’s new with those airlines now

  3. Well, I have an LHR-AKL rt for February in QF ‘O’, which would have earned me 56000 AS miles (I’m MVP gold 75k). Now it will be 14000 miles.
    just terrible news.

  4. oof, flew PVG-SYD-AKL twice this year and deliberately chose QF for its partnership with AS. Now it is virtually useless to buy QF intentionally.

  5. Thankful that they gave some notice. My SIN-LAX in QF discount coach next week should credit at 100% then. Last booking on QF though.

  6. Not surprising or unwarranted. 100% on discount Y just isn’t feasible in a 2019 fare environment.

    Round trip East Coast to Aus or Europe to Aus is near enough 20k miles, which with how valuable AS Miles can be is basically a $400 rebate. Nice for those who benefited but sadly blatantly unsustainable..

    That said – changing the miles on tickets already bought is inexcusably poor form and unfair

  7. While not an enhancement, AAdvantage does the same thing, 25%, 50% and 100% on different economy class fares.

    AAdvantage is still tied for my 4th choice after the other big 3 and Alaska for frequent flyer plan (tied with Southwest).

  8. @Dwondermeant. 60K for a one hour flight is over the top. Do you have the specific flight you’re talking about?? I’d like to take a peek. I just booked a O/W FLL-LAX-SEA in early December for 25K in F.

  9. This looks more like the Cathay and Japan Air mileage earning table for Alaska flyers.

    Seems to me it makes Qantas similar to other OneWorld Alaska partners.

  10. And that closes the last remaining major mileage running opportunity for US programs.. unfortunately.

  11. Unfortunately this continues the downward spiral. AS “First” is at best anyone else’s Premium Economy.

    I get really pissed when my International Business Award then gets stuffed into main cabin for my North America feeder which is often a transcontinental flight. Not even into their “premium class” economy. When I book for the same miles on AA I get AS First.

    Flying back from Portugal in March and have chosen to pay for Business on Tap and AC rather than a points flight on AS that would land in JFK and put me in cattle all the way to YVR. No way! The dollar cost was cheaper than the cost of the award and is Business all the way – and with GOOD LOUNGES all the way.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if WestJet and AS formed a partnership?

  12. Wasn’t a major condition of the DOJ approval of the QF/AA JV that QF maintain its AS partnership? Seems like this is a big hit to the partnership. Moreover isn’t this change likely initiated by QF since they then have to buy the miles from AS after you fly?

  13. @ Zane
    Absolutely correct: this is QANTAS jiggery-pokery ( for which they are legend) rather than something initiated by Alaska.

  14. Yet another blow to AS Mileage Plan. It was perhaps inevitable and may well not have been within Alaska’s control, but the end result is the same. Everyone’s got their breaking point and this is mine.

    This devaluation is massive. It doesn’t just put Alaska’s earning rates for Qantas flights on par with American. Because Alaska only counts base miles towards status, only the highest fare classes will earn 1 mile flown = 1 elite qualifying mile for status while American will offer 1 mile flown = 1 elite qualifying mile for all flights, even deeply-discounted fares that only earn 25% actual redeemable miles. That means an AS-crediter in “discount economy” (which is hardly a “discount” given fares to / from Australia) will have to fly four times as many miles as an AA-crediter for the same fare class to net the same number of miles towards status. That is brutal.

    There were always compromises crediting quarterly Qantas trips with Alaska as the only perk of AS status with Qantas was lounge access, but the high earning rates and fantastic award options (albeit hard though not impossible to come by) kept me going. Now, not only is the earning incentive diminished, but the penalty on status earning makes it impossible to justify crediting to AS when I could earn status faster on AA for the same flights and actually enjoy the benefits of OneWorld.

    The TL:DR for Alaska is that my US-flying now shifts away from AS as there is simply not enough value left in the program from me as another global partner is lost / weakened. I’ll miss those 55K awards when I could actually find them, but I can’t justify it anymore. The scales have tipped and another one bites the dust.

    Time to cut the reigns and just pony up the fee for a Platinum AMEX and just stop chasing status with programmes that continue to offer less and less in return.

  15. After my recent Qantas flight (detailed review here:, I received a survey from Mileage Plan that asked a number of questions about my usage of the partnership. It specifically focused on whether I chose to fly Qantas over other airlines because of it.

    I can’t speculate as to whether Alaska was looking to support or counter the case for cutting mileage accural through the data gathered via this survey, but it appears they did at least make an effort toward a data-driven decision here.

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